Did Elections For Mayoral Post In Chennai Make A Mockery Of Social Justice?

by Aravindan Neelakandan - Mar 9, 2022 08:30 PM +05:30 IST
Did Elections For Mayoral Post In Chennai Make A Mockery Of Social Justice? New mayor of Chennai (Twitter)
Snapshot
  • If the new mayor of Chennai is indeed a convert to Christianity, and hence not a member of the SC community, then this is a direct challenge to social justice and Indian Constitution.

The DMK Government announced that in Priya Rajan (28), Chennai was getting 'a Dalit' as the Mayor of the city for the first time.

However, this claim had been proved wrong as the first Mayor of Madras (Chennai) from the Scheduled Community was Sri. Namasivayam Sivaraj.

DMK supporters then claimed that Priya Rajan was the first Dalit woman Mayor of the city.

But now, even that claims seems to be wrong.

Did Elections For Mayoral Post In Chennai Make A Mockery Of Social Justice?

Today, two separate news agencies brought out the revelation that the much highlighted 'Dalit' woman mayor may not be actually Dalit.

According to the Indian Constitution, those from the Scheduled Community who get converted to Christianity are no longer considered as belonging to the 'Scheduled Community.' They lose the benefits of affirmative action. Those of the Scheduled Community, who, despite the social disadvantage, owe their allegiance to Hindu Dharma alone are entitled to the benefits of affirmative action.

This is justifiable because the crime of untouchability is a disease that ails Hindu society.

On the other hand, the propaganda around conversions has always been that Christianity was a religion which was free of such social evils.

There have been allegations of a large number of crypto-Christians—Hindus on certificates but Christians in their actual religion—exploiting the benefits meant for SC Hindus.

But what has happened in the case of Priya Rajan seems to be an explicit violation and not a case of someone claiming to be a Hindu on paper but being a practising Christian in real life.

The truth seemed to have surfaced when the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), a news agency for Catholics, published a report with the headline 'Dalit Christian woman is the youngest mayor of India's Chennai city.' It claimed that Priya was a Christian and a member of the Evangelical Church of India (ECI).

Did Elections For Mayoral Post In Chennai Make A Mockery Of Social Justice?

Incidentally, ECI is the Church whose most prominent face in Tamil Nadu is Ezra Sargunam - a Bishop who is very close to the ruling DMK. ECI has a goal of establishing 10,00,000 churches by 2056. Ezra Sargunam is the same Bishop who had became notorious for his statement that 'Hindus should be punched in the face'.

The Hindu Makkal Katchi (HMK)of Arjun Sampath has already shown that the newly elected Mayor in fact went and paid a visit to this rabble-rousing Christian Bishop.

An investigation by Deccan Chronicle has this to say:

An investigation carried out by the DC found that the same report was published in another website 'South Asian Journal'. The report has quoted Father Vincent Chinnadura, former spokesperson of the Tamil Nadu Bishops' Council. ... But the affidavit submitted by Priya, during the recent urban local body election, says she belongs to the Scheduled Community. If she has converted to Christianity taking a membership of the ECI, she is legally not eligible to get benefit of the SC status. The mayor post was reserved by the government for an SC woman candidate. The Kerala high court in July 2010 had disqualified AICC secretary Kodikunnil Suresh from the membership of the Lok Sabha for producing a fake caste certificate. ... In June 2013, the Madras high court had ruled that a person professing a particular religion and belonging to a backward or most backward or scheduled caste community will lose the community status on converting to another religion.

Talking to Swarajya, Sri. Ma. Venkatesan, Honourable Chairman, National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK)(Govt of India) said that if true, then the news really pains him.

It is a betrayal of Dr. Ambedkar, Indian Constitution and the legitimate rights of genuine Scheduled Community members.

If Dr. Ambedkar believed that converted Christians really deserved the benefits of affirmative action, then he would have written so specifically in the Constitution, Venkatesan pointed out. Further, he stated that Dr. Ambedkar himself had rejected conversion to Christianity. On one occasion, he had stated that it would strengthen the British in India and on another occasion he stated that while moving to Buddhism was like moving from one room to another in the same house converting to Christianity was akin to going to another house.

Sri. Ma. Venkatesan, Honourable Chairman, National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK)(Govt of India)
Sri. Ma. Venkatesan, Honourable Chairman, National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK)(Govt of India)

He had used the term 'denationalise' with respect to conversion to Christianity. So according the benefits of affirmative action to the Scheduled Community is also the recognition of their commitment to the culture and spiritual traditions of this land while fighting against the sin of social stagnation and evils of inhuman practices like untouchability.

'Perunthalaivar' M.C.Rajah, 'Thatha' Rettaimalai Srinivasan and Paramacharya Swami Sahajananda
'Perunthalaivar' M.C.Rajah, 'Thatha' Rettaimalai Srinivasan and Paramacharya Swami Sahajananda

Sri. Ma. Venkatesan passionately pointed out that using the tools of social justice to play evangelical games is a betrayal to the great revolutionary icon that was Dr. Ambedkar as well as the three greatest social justice warrior Hindus of Tamil Nadu: Perunthalaivar M.C.Rajah, Paramacharya Swami Sahajananda and 'Thatha' Rettaimalai Srinivasan. He pointed out:

Thatha Rettaimalai Srinivasan, an uncompromising warrior for social justice, had stood against extending the benefits available to Scheduled Community Hindus to the converted ones.

If Priya Rajan is indeed a convert to Christianity then this is a direct challenge to social justice and Indian Constitution.

Aravindan is a contributing editor at Swarajya.

Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.

An Appeal...

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.

Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.

We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.

Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.

Become A Patron
Become A Subscriber
Comments ↓
Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.
Advertisement

Latest Articles

    Artboard 4Created with Sketch.